Posts Tagged ‘Baltimore Ravens’

Ravens vs. Steelers – Are You Ready for Some Smash-Mouth Football?

After a crazy Wild Card weekend, the Divisional Playoffs are now upon us.  Over the next few days, we will look at this weekend’s games, which should prove to be just as exciting as last weekend’s contests.  We went 1-4 in our Wild Card predictions, so if you’re entering an office pool, you may want to reconsider putting any wagers on our picks!

The first game this weekend is an AFC North Divisional Playoff featuring Baltimore and Pittsburgh.  Game time is 4:30 pm ET on CBS.  These two hard hitting teams embody good ol’ fashioned, smash- mouth football and the testosterone level will be sky high!  What better way to start the divisional playoffs than with an intense rivalry between two physical teams?

It’s a home game for the Steelers and fans will be out in force, frantically waving their “Terrible Towels” and cheering for their beloved team.  The last time these teams met was in early December when the Steelers overcame a 10-3 deficit, scoring 10 points in the 4th quarter to pull off a 13-10 victory.  Earlier in the season, at Heinz Field, the Ravens defeated the Steelers, but it was a game in which Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger was missing due to his NFL suspension.

Last weekend the Ravens beat the Chiefs in a Wild Card game that held KC to only 7 points, despite the Chief’s prolific rushing offense.  Their 30-7 victory certainly provides momentum coming into this week’s heated rivalry with the Steelers.  But their win last week had a lot to do with the turnovers (3 interceptions and two fumbles) committed by the Chiefs.  In the third quarter Baltimore led only 10-7, but their powerful, fast defense rattled the Chiefs and the offense was able to capitalize on the KC’s miscues.  Ravens QB Joe Flacco completed 25 of 34 passes for 265 yards and 2 TDs.

Flacco is 4-2 in road playoff games and will need an error free day to win against a tough Steelers defense.  Running back Ray Rice will need to have a big game as well.  The Steelers led the NFL in rush defense this season and held Rice to just 32 rushing yards and 18 passing yards in their last match up.

Defensively, the Ravens have 4 Pro Bowlers on their roster – linebackers Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs, defensive tackle Haloti Ngata and safety Ed Reed.  Ranked third for fewest points allowed this season, the defense wins them games and will be crucial if they are to emerge victorious against the Steelers on Saturday.  Safety Ed Reed is a critical defensive factor, capable of making some big plays.  Ray Lewis is the leader on the field and also provides the inspiration and motivation 

The Steelers, on the other hand, had a bye last weekend.  They will be rested and ready to face their division nemesis.  Since 1970, the Steelers have not lost to a divisional rival in post season play. Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger has won his last 6 games against the Ravens, even after suffering a broken nose in the first quarter of their last meeting.  He has thrown 158 straight passes without an interception.  Big Ben has playoff experience (and two Super Bowl Championships) and will undoubtedly be poised and ready to play in front of his home crowd.

Like Baltimore, Pittsburgh is also known for its defense.  Safety Troy Polamalu has game changing abilities.  He played a pivotal role in the last game between the Steelers and Ravens when he stripped the ball from Ravens QB Flacco, which led to the game winning TD.

With the two defenses so evenly matched and the last 4 games being decided by a 3 point margin, who will prevail in this clash?  While the Ravens have momentum, we think Pittsburgh wins in a close battle that comes down to the 4th quarter and possibly even overtime.  The home crowd, combined with Big Ben’s playoff experience, should be enough to give Pittsburgh the edge in this tough, physical matchup.

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Ravens vs. Chiefs – The Wild Card Weekend Continues

Yesterday’s Wild Card games lived up to their names.  What a wild and wacky day of NFL football!   After the shocking upset of the defending Super Bowl champions New Orleans Saints by the Seattle Seahawks, the Jets went on to beat the Colts in a game that was a real nail biter.

Yesterday we predicted an easy Saints victory and a Colts win.  Well, at 0-2 our predictions for this weekend could not have been worse, so we hope that we are more accurate in today’s analysis!  At 1 pm ET today the Baltimore Ravens face the Kansas City Chiefs.  Here is our take on that game.

At 4:30, the Green Bay Packers take on the Philadelphia Eagles.  We will post our analysis and prediction of that match up in a few hours.  In the meantime, enjoy this playoff Sunday!!!

AFC Wild Card Game – Ravens vs. Chiefs

This is the first time the two teams meet in post-season play.  The Chiefs have an abysmal playoff record.  Their last playoff victory was in 1994.  Since then, they have gone 0-6 in the post-season.  The Ravens have a more impressive showing in the playoffs and have made post-season appearances in each of the last three years.  Today’s game takes place at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  But the Ravens’ playoff record on the road is 6-3, so a Chief’s home field advantage will not likely be a factor.

The Chiefs have the most prolific rushing offense in the NFL.  For the Chiefs to win, running backs Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles will have to overcome one of the best rushing defenses in the league.  Last week, the Chiefs suffered an embarrassing 31-10 loss to the Oakland Raiders.  Is this an indication of some offensive weakness that the Ravens can exploit?  It could be.   But it is likely that their performance last week was a result of offensive coordinator Charlie Weis’ distractions.  Weis has reportedly agreed to become the offensive coordinator for the University of Florida and may have looked past the Raiders last week.   But this is the playoffs and Weis is a master at big games.  As offensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, he helped lead the team to three Super Bowl championships.

Linebacker Ray Lewis is Baltimore’s leader, both on and off the field.  Look for him to provide the inspiration and motivation for his defensive unit.  The Ravens ranked third in the NFL for fewest points allowed.  The Ravens defense boasts 4 Pro Bowlers – Lewis, linebacker Terrell Suggs, safety Ed Reed and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata.   

As the season began, the buzz was about how the Ravens offense was upgraded with the addition of Anquan Boldin.  Joe Flacco was predicted to have a breakout season, but the offense never reached pre-season expectations.   The Ravens have historically been known as a defensive team and today it will be up to that defense to win this game.

Baltimore has momentum, having won the last 6 of their seven games.  At 35, Ray Lewis knows his chances at winning a Super Bowl championship are limited.  Look for him to dominate on the field and be the spiritual and inspirational leader to help seal the victory.

Got Triskaidekaphobia?

Those who fear the number 13 suffer from triskaidekaphobia.  But there is no need to dread week 13 in the NFL.  In fact, for football fans it is indeed our lucky day!  There are some great games, many of which have playoff implications.  The Patriots/Jets, Giants/Redskins, Cowboys/Colts and Falcons/Bucs are some on my “must see” list. 

Perhaps the biggest Sunday matchup is tonight’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens AFC rivalry game.  Both teams are tied for first place in the AFC North, with 8-3 records.  In all likelihood, the winner of this game will win the AFC North and possibly a first-round bye, as well as home field advantage in the playoffs. 

The two teams met in Week 4 this season, with the Ravens scoring late in the 4th quarter to pull off a 17-14 win.  However, Steeler QB Ben Roethlisberger did not play in that game due to his suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

While Monday Night’s Jets/Patriots game has the glitz and glamour associated with New York and the oh-so-glossy and picture-perfect Tom Brady, tonight’s Steeler/Ravens game is good, hard PHYSICAL football.  The hatred between these two teams is palpable, so expect a smash-mouth, hard hitting game.

On paper, these two teams are statistically even.  But there are many factors that will come into play and will likely determine the outcome.  Here is a look at a few of them…

  • Remember the movie, “The Blind Side”?  Well, the real life Michael Oher is the Ravens starting left tackle and his job is to protect his QB Joe Flacco’s blind side.  Oher left last week’s game against the Bucs with an injury and so his condition for tonight’s game is questionable.
  • The BEN –e-factor…  Big Ben has been seen wearing a protective boot on his injured foot this week.  But the fact remains that with him in the game, the Steelers are 7-2 against the Ravens.  Hurt or not, Roethlisberger is a definite compelling force in this heated rivalry game.  As the nation’s 5th ranked passer, he will certainly lead a much different offense than the week 4 game.
  • The Steelers run defense is ranked number one in the country.   While Ravens RB Ray Rice has had success against the Steeler’s defense, the Ravens will need to go to the air to pull off a victory.
  • The Steelers pass defense is vulnerable.  If Flacco can read the coverage in the secondary, he has the chance to exploit this weakness.
  • The NFL has fined Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison four times this season, for a total of $125,000, for illegal hits.  Some of those calls have been questionable.  We hope that the NFL’s scrutiny of Harrison does not restrain his intensity and ultimately affect his game.
  • The Ravens host tonight’s game and the Steelers have struggled on the road.  Meanwhile, Baltimore holds the longest current home winning streak in the NFL.  A home field advantage could truly be a factor in this game.  

If you love good, old fashioned, knock em’ down football, this is the game for you!  Pittsburgh and Baltimore’s blue-collar fans bring an enthusiasm and fervor to the game unmatched in the NFL.  So tune in tonight for a clash that will have you jumping out of your seat!  This Week 13 game will cure your triskaidekaphobia and make you feel lucky to have such a great rivalry game to enjoy.

It’s Week 9 and Oh What a Season it has Been!

Here we are, in week 9 of the NFL schedule, which means we are half way through the regular season!  Time flies when you’re having fun.  As we reflect on what has unfolded in the NFL thus far, we were inspired to say it with poetry.  (Don’t ask why, frankly, we really don’t know)

 

The NFL season is already half completed

Some of our teams have won, others were defeated

Players have been benched, a few were even traded

Coaches have been praised, a few are truly hated

So at this point in the season, we look at where things stand

One thing we know for certain, this season has not been bland!

 

The great and mighty Saints were expected to be dominant

But here in 2010, they’re not so prominent!

The trendy “who dat” slogan was such a catchy phrase

 But the way the Saints are playing, was it only just a phase?

So as New Orleans struggles to find a way to win

Will another team replace them as America’s new darlin’?

 

All throughout the league, quarterbacks are making news

With so many controversies, it’s easy to feel confused

In Philly, Vick was out…then in..then out again

The Steelers had their own QB troubles – the behavior of Big Ben

McNabb was benched for Grossman, a decision that boggles the mind

Grossman fumbled his first play, and the Redskins fell behind!

 

The Vikings made a trade to pick up Randy Moss

Four short weeks later, they gave him quite the toss

Randy’s open praise of his former coach and team

Caused coach Childress fury and to fire him it seems

Randy’s now a Titan, playing in Tennessee

Will he find a home there?  Or will he have to flee?

 

Jerry Jones’ Cowboys now stand at one and six

How does this happen to a pre-season Superbowl pick?

The Bills are once again at the bottom of the pile

Will frosty Buffalo fans ever find reason to smile?

The Panthers and 49ers are also down this year

Their fans are not celebrating, but drowning in cold beer

 

The Patriots are once again winning, doing it with flair

Even with Tom Brady and his Justin Bieber-like long hair

The Giants and the Falcons are tied for first in the NFC

Who will win their division?  We will have to wait and see

The Ravens, Chiefs and Colts seem to be true contenders

While the Jets, Packers and Steelers may just end up pretenders

 

The season’s only half way through, there’s lots more games to play

Some teams will continue to win, some may go astray

Football is a game of inches, so the saying goes

It’s a game that can’t be predicted, as any true fan knows

So enjoy the “second half”, it will be an adventurous ride

It’s what makes football the greatest game – that cannot be denied!

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